Note: If using Outlook click the above bar where it says “Click to download photos”  This issue has many photos so it may take a couple of extra minutes to download. 

  Babur, You Are The Best!
 Gourd Sculpture by Turkish Artist Babur


In This Issue: This month we have a slight change in plan. We were going to introduce, as featured artist, the Gourd Master Sam X, but due to Christmas and busy schedules, we have decided to wait until February to present this extraordinary artist. 
In light of this we have decided to start the New Year by opening the pages of Northern Dipper. At the helm are two great women, Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond and one thing you will quickly learn... when these two gals are in the picture, it is guaranteed there will never be a dull moment!
We will have Reader's Corner and a very timely question for Dear Carolyn. Include some news, both gourdly and ungourdly, and we are on our way... our way into a new year. Happy New Year everyone! Let's make it a brilliant one.

 Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond:
Making Northern Dipper Tick! 
Carolyn and Linda on the day Northern Dipper 
changed hands and became theirs. 
The first time my partner Peter Bell and I, Pam Grossi, met Carolyn and Linda was at Canada Blooms. The gourds entranced Carolyn and she had so many questions that Peter asked her to come back a bit later so he could answer them all! That day was the first of many, and little did we know, that in a few short years, Carolyn and Linda would be the new owners of Northern Dipper.


The entrepreneurial lifestyle was not new to these two women. Previously Carolyn had owned an antique shop, and when she met Linda, they opened up a woodworking business together. Here they made wood crafts as well as reproduction antique furniture. They worked on commission and did trade shows and were very successful.


Carolyn and Linda's shop use to be filled with lots of wooden items when they had their woodworking business. Now it is 'gourd central', known for its one stop shopping and friendly customer service.
During this time Carolyn was very involved with decorative painting. She recalls  “I pretty well painted on anything that didn't move. Wood, metal, glass…one of my favourites was rocks. I loved making them into animals, and was even able to hang on to one of my favourite "cat rocks."
"I had seen books on painting on gourds but didn't understand why someone would spend all that time painting on something that was going to rot. I saw my first finished hard-shell gourd at a craft show we were participating in (at Gloria Pengally’s booth) and boom…the light went on and the rest is history.”

Looking for the perfect gourds for their North American customers. This was one of several trips to Guatemala
Back home Carolyn looks after Northern Dipper full-time while Linda is involved more part-time. Linda works full time as a medic in the town of Newmarket, Ontario.
When asked, “Carolyn, what fascinates you about gourds?" she breaks into a smile and exclaims, "Everything! The first time I held a gourd...well, I can't really put into words what it was like but I know other gourd-a-holics would understand. There is just this amazing feeling of calm that comes over you. Walking around with a slightly glazed look, caressing the gourd... the ideas coming rushing at you. Of course there are those gourds too, that you pick up and just plain love. You don't want to cut them or do anything. You just love them in their raw state, just the way Mother Nature designed them!!!"

The enthusiasm of Carolyn and Linda is infectious at the trade shows. Here Carolyn is drilling bird entry holes.
From our perspective as previous owners, it has been interesting witnessing the growth of Northern Dipper under the watch of Carolyn and Linda. They are full of energy and find the various facets of the business exciting. By far their favourite aspect is the people they meet on a daily basis. So many people from so many walks of life and all are fascinating in their own way.
Gourds have opened the door for additional travel as well. Carolyn and Linda have been down to Guatemala several times where the camposinos (farmers) were growing gourds for them, and last year, they attended gourd festivals around the U.S. Plans are already in the making for upcoming travel in 2008. First on the agenda is the Florida show February 22, 23 & 24th. To learn more about this gourd show click here.
Carolyn and Linda love seeking out new product as well. Each new product is tryed out by Carolyn   before it is picked up to ensure that it is of the quality that Northern Dipper is known for.

 This is a class that Carolyn had at the local library in December. Egg gourds and the new alcohol inks were used to create unique Christmas ornaments.  
In addition gourds are shipped all over the world and the gourd workshops are growing in both number, topic and popularity. Carolyn has started to do more workshop venues and presentations out in the community and at this time of year preparation for the trade shows must start. (Canada Blooms is right around the corner.) Currently Carolyn is also working on a draft for a book on gourding that she has been thinking about for awhile, and to top it all off, she still finds time to pursue her own passion - gourd art. Carolyn is a very busy woman.
Future Plans: Short-term - There are quite a few ideas percolating on the back burner as you can imagine. One idea is that next summer Northern Dipper will have "educational" gourd gardens where people can drop in and learn more about the art of growing gourds.
Emphasis will also be placed on the workshops. Carolyn will continue to offer a large variety of topics and techniques and is hoping to bring in additional people to teach. 
Long term, lets say in 10 yrs: Carolyn chuckles at the thought, "We hope to have the nieces and nephews, or maybe a few grandkids, to help with the business. Linda and I have big plans to do lots of travel in our RV!!! The main thing right now is that we must always have fun with the business, we must be challenged, and we must look on every day as a bit of an adventure!" To date, Northern Dipper is offering Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond this, and much more.  
  Monday Night Gourd Madness!

This class is making Danish coil rims on gourd bowls. In contrast, Monday Night Gourd Madness will be informal and open. 
Mark your calendars! On every first and third Monday of the month, from 6:30 pm to 9 pm, gourd madness will take over Northern Dipper. There will be no formal classes, just a place where gourders can come, take a break from the kids and work, and meet with other like-minded people.
Take this opportunity to gourd with other gourders, share ideas and learn from each other. The fireplace will be warm and toasty, the coffee and tea brewing, come on down and have a good time. 
To view upcoming workshop details, including Twining on January 13, click here.

Dear Carolyn!
  Gourds can be left outside in the snow. They will still
dry really well.

Good afternoon Carolyn,

YAY!!!  THEY ARRIVED!!!  I picked up my package O' gourds on Tuesday evening. That is some fast shipping!  Thank you so much. They are great!  Quite a lovely selection. I can't wait to start carving. 

You said they could be kept in a garden shed for the winter if they aren't cleaned, correct? After reading a few things about the moulds, I am very reluctant to bring them in the house until after they have been thoroughly scrubbed.

Thanks again!

Lori Zebiere

P.S.  Great web site, I'll definitely be returning for more goodies...and I love your newsletter! 

This carved gourd was displayed at the CGS Gourd Festival a few years ago. We do not know the artist but this red carved bowl has always been one of our favorites.
Hi Lori,
It is true that gourds can be kept outside or in a garden shed while they are drying or once they have dryed. Remember to always wear a mask when cleaning, cutting or sanding gourds. The mould bothers many people and if you happen to open a "bad" gourd that is full of mould on the inside, it will take a few days for your lungs to feel right again. We do sell excellent respirator masks. For your information here is the link.
Send in some photos once your gourds are carved. We would love to see them.
Dear Carolyn,
My friend and I were reading your newsletter last night and we were wondering where the name Northern Dipper came from?
Katy Brunswick - Quebec  
Hi Katy,

We thought we would go to one of the original owners Peter Bell for this answer…


We called the gourd business Northern Dipper for a couple of reasons and these reasons were intertwined, as you will soon learn. We had moved from BC, bought a farm and then looked for a niche market. Gourds seem to fill the bill. At the same time, as we were new to rural Southern Ontario, we decided to delve into the history of the area. We discovered that Southern Ontario was the exit point for the Underground Railroad, which was the journey the slaves undertook from the south to the north, when seeking freedom. Travel was always done at night and the North Star / Big Dipper was their guide. Once in Canada, these courageous people formed communities, cleared farmland and made a new life for themselves.


Furthermore we found it very interesting on how communication about these escape routes were passed from plantation to plantation. It was done through song and the words contained coded directions to travel north. They used a term The Drinking Gourd, which was a code word for the North Star / Big Dipper. We combined the Drinking Gourd, North Star and Big Dipper and called the company Northern Dipper.

Following are some links that will show what these individuals went through in order to gain freedom, which is, as we all cherish, a basic human right.
Before the Civil War, an intinerent carpenter, Peg Leg Joe, travelled throughout the South, passing the tune to slaves. To view the lyrics click here.

To view the path throughout the U.S. up to Canada  click here. 

To view all the communities and growing villages in Canada that the US slaves help settle click here. 
To send in questions to Dear Carolyn! click here.

Reader's Corner  

Hi Carolyn,  
Love your newsletter and thanks for sending it to me. Here are some pictures of my favourite past time, gourding! My first gourd I made was a Hawaiian IPU. I was living and working on Johnston Atoll, which is 800 miles SW of Hawaii. A friend gave me a gourd to make my own IPU and the love of gourding began!
Now I live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and not only paint gourds, but grow them too. There is so much to learn about gourd crafting that I stay busy researching all I can about gourds.


Jennifer's Gourd Art - Love Those Cool Cats!
The gourd cats are my two cats Izzy and Toni, who don't mind modeling for me as long as they get a treat. The hens I have made for Christmas presents. Gourds and anything handmade are the best gifts to give.

Mele Kalikimake and Happy Holidays

Jennifer Sheldon
Thank you Jennifer for your letter and photos. Those hens are really cute and will be welcomed with smiles. All the best in 2008 to you, Izzy and Toni.



I am one of the people who subscribes to your newsletter.


 A beautiful wood burned peacock by Sue Sturges
I saw you had a warty gourd dried and you do not see them dried too often. I fell in love with them and bought seed and grew some. I found that they dried very nicely in the oven and now it is a year later, they still have some of their colour. They have faded a little but are still beautiful. Or to me they are. LOL


I will be ordering from you in a few months. Hoping you have some extra long handled dippers seed. They are a lot of fun trying to tie in knots. If I can get the extra long handled I want to try a double knot!

Happy Holidays to you...


Sue Sturges
Dear Sue, Thank you very much for your letter and beautiful wood-burned peacock. Peacocks are such regal birds and yours has a lot of detail. It really is  lovely.
Be sure to send some photos in when you start knotting your dippers. We have used molds and boards but have not ever had a lot of success with knotting. Here is the link for an article on altering the shapes of growing gourds. It is written by an expert, the late Jim Storey.
Good luck to you Sue, Keep in touch, Carolyn
Please send pictures or comments to Reader's Corner. Click here to

  Happy Memories  
   "Dancing With My Aunties" by The Gourd Master, Sam X
 NEXT ISSUE:  Above is a preview of the art by The Gourd Master, Sam X , our featured artist in February. Sam is a fascinating man whose art cries out with emotion, family, history and more. Please join us for an in-depth conversation with Sam, as he explains what drives him and his art.


Coming up next month is Valentine’s Day! This day has a long history, and for a unique gift for that someone special on your list, there is a beautiful Valentines gourd lamp which was created by Lois Dean for last years newsletter. If you missed the link to Lois earlier in this issue of Gourd Fever, here it is again.


Until next month, keep on gourding….

 Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
© Northern Dipper 2008

Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are available at

Volume 4, Number 36 


In this Issue: 
The Women Behind Northern Dipper   
The HOG's Christmas Visit!
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia  

The HOG's Christmas Visit to Northern Dipper
The HOG's is an abbreviation for The Happy Ontario Gourders. This group is a lot of fun
with a keen sense of humour. All are exceptional artists and some are involved in other creative pursuits in addition to gourds. A couple even have their own  businesses.
 Carolyn and Linda are members of
this group, and throughout the year, the HOG's make a day of it up at Northern Dipper. Following are some photos of their Christmas exchange in early December.
 PS Carolyn has a nickname with the HOG's. It contains 3 letters and has to do with a type of gourd. Can you guess what it is?
First things first....This group cannot
resist an opportunity to get together, discuss  new techniques and play with gourds. Of course they had to try out the new ink dyes that Northern Dipper has! 
The HOG's are very good friends of Turkish artist Babur who is known for his wonderful gourd sculptures. Here they are unpacking a box of gifts sent all the
way from Babur from Turkey!
To learn more about Babur click here.
This is Lois Dean holding a sculpture by Babur. This piece will be on display at Northern Dipper. Lois, herself, has an amazing imagination when it comes to gourd art. She creates very original work and has won ribbons in several competitions. Lois is also the Ontario distributor for Paverpol.
To learn more about Lois click here.
This is Gloria Pengally who introduced Carolyn to her very first gourd. Everyone loves Gloria because she has such a sunny disposition (unless you get her riled!!!) Gloria's creativity is apparent in everything she touches. Her gourd art is beautiful, and in the summer, her huge,(over one acre) well-designed gardens keep her very busy. 
This lovely woman is Bonnie MacLeod. Bonnie is very humble about her talent yet the reality is that her very early art - her first pieces - were winning ribbons in every competition they were entered into. This trend, I am happy to report, continues! 
To complete the day these good friends sit
down to share dinner, a few stories, and to set the plans for their next gourding
 15% off all
A great selection to choose from! 
 For details click here.

  New Products 
Alcohol Inks are acid free, fast drying & are formulated to create a colourful polished effect. Combining two or more colours produce batik & hand dyed looks. These inks go a long way as the colours are very vivid and strong . 
 The Adirondack Blending Solution is
especially formulated to lighten and blend the colours of the Alcohol Inks.
 Also available are the lumionous, fast drying, acid free Metallic Mixatives in pearl, copper, silver and gold.  These mixatives are specially formulated to create luminous highlights when combined with the Alcohol Inks.
The Alcohol Inks will be available in 12 different colours.  Metallic mixatives are available in pearl, copper, silver
and gold.
  For more information, click here.
Tip of the Month 
Vicki Beard , gourd artist and Master gardener, suggests that when using the
new inks, take a piece of dowelling, and 
glue a small piece of velcro to the end of it. Attach to the velcro a small piece of felt. Use a small piece, no bigger than an inch. The felt is going to be used as a dabber to put the inks on.  The velcro is great - it makes it easy to change the felt
for the different colors of ink.
**Thanks Vicki - this really does work well.

 Gourd Sightings
At Play in the Fields of the Lord
Martin and Hazel Quarrier are small-
town fundamentalist missionaries sent
to the jungles of South America to convert the Indians. Throughout this 1991 movie there are many gourd sightings.
To learn more click here.

  Readers Corner
 This little bird will be cozy this winter in
his gourd home.
Thank you Kent Hunter for sending these
great bird photos in.
  Speaking of birds and animals...
Northern Dipper gets its share!
 Carolyn got up one morning and found this
 in her live animal trap.  This vistor had a broad white stripe down its back.
Oh no - a skunk!
Carolyn told me "You know what kind of a day it's going to be when you trap this instead of a squirrel!!  I was actually able to release it (alive) without getting sprayed!!"
**Out in the country there is a problem with squirrels and chipmunks destroying the outdoor gourds. They make a large hole
and eat the seeds inside. Carolyn always
uses a live trap and releases them.
The bird is called a pileated woodpecker. He is huge and it is really exciting when we get a chance to see him.  This is the type of woodpecker which was a model for that
 well-loved character Woody Woodpecker. 
Cardinals are a favorite winter bird. The males are gorgeous and are a welcome flash of red at the snow-covered feeders. The tan coloured females usually sit on the sidelines and wait their turn for feeding.
Jennifer Sheldon, owner of Izzy and Toni, who are the most perfect cat models.
There is a strong Hawaiian influence in some of Jennifer Sheldon's work.

Condom Fashion Show in China

 Models parade in outfits made entirely of condoms during a fashion show at The 4th China Reproductive Health New Technologies & Products Expo in Beijing July 11, 2007.   

The show was held at the Fourth China Reproductive Health New Technologies and Products Expo. The purpose was to promote the use of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  
Very pretty!
This dress is gorgeous! Thank you
Lois Dean for sending these pictures in.
The Dog's Love Polar Swims

  Royal on her Christmas Day walk. Here 
she was feeling particularily frisky
chasing a stick in the water with her
friend "The Chocolate Brownie." 
 It must have been those homemade
liver biscuits Santa left in her stocking that's giving her so    much energy!
I should add that it wasn't much fun riding home with two soaking dogs...the things we do for our dogs.

   Designed & Published by
Pam Grossi
1535 Myrtle Ave
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7

 Northern Dipper Farm
5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0
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Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada